At the start of the season, there was plenty of optimism about the center position for Syracuse basketball. 7’4” Florida State transfer Naheem McLeod was new to the scene, Peter Carey was finally healthy after an injury-filled freshman year, and Mounir Hima had shown some flashes. Plus, there were already murmurs that forward Maliq Brown would get some run as a small ball five. That meant freshman William Patterson didn’t have a spot in the lineup, and was designated for a redshirt year.
A lot has changed in the last several months. Naheem McLeod went down with an injury, and is out for the rest of the year. Peter Carey has also had some health issues, which were made even more concerning by the fact that head coach Adrian Autry just found out about them hours before the Clemson game last weekend. Forward Benny Williams, who had shifted to the center at times of need, has also been dismissed from the team.
This leaves forward Maliq Brown as the starting center, with his lone backup being Mounir Hima, who hasn’t played more than nine minutes in a game this year. As a result, Coach Autry made an interesting comment regarding Will Patterson’s redshirt status.
“I actually was thinking about what the risk/reward is as far as thinking of something like that with Will,” Autry said. “But we’re gonna stick to the plan and move forward. I think Mournir’s going to have to play a little bit more and hopefully Peter can get back as quick as possible.”
Now, it’s good that Autry decided against playing Patterson, but it’s concerning that it was even considered. It’s not fair to Patterson, who hasn’t gotten a chance to play all year long, to make him waste a whole year of eligibility to be a third-string center for a few weeks. Plus, it’s not worth it for the team as a whole. The NCAA Tournament is all but out the window at this point, so why not make sure that your top recruit in this freshman class gets an extra year of college?
Coach Autry, don’t play William Patterson. Keeping his redshirt is best for him and the team.